The Carthage College football team (3-7, 1-6 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin) completed its 2012 season on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 10 with a 55-13 loss to CCIW-opponent Millikin University (5-5, 2-5 CCIW) at Frank M. Lindsay Field in Decatur, Ill. The Red Men ended the season on a six-game losing streak after defeating North Park University, 31-6, on Sept. 29.
Millikin took a 7-0 lead on the second play of its first drive. A 37-yard pass from Matt Holmes to Jake Palmer plus a 15-yard sideline interference call put the ball on the Carthage 23-yard line. Two plays later, Sean Dunning carried for a 15-yard touchdown at 14:14. The Red Men went four-and-out on their next possession, and Millikin struck again with a six-play, 96-yard scoring drive that ended with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Holmes and Brady Cudaude at 9:56. A 53-yard field goal by Brett Bukari (Jr., Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Detroit Country Day) at 6:47 got Carthage on the scoreboard but trailing, 14-3. Bukari's kick set a Carthage record, breaking a mark set by Tyler Funk against Concordia University (Wis.) in 2009 and equaled by Funk against both Wheaton College (Ill.) and North Park University later the same season.
Bukari connected on a 36-yard field goal at 2:48 to make it a 14-6 game. A 52-yard run by the Big Blue's Tyler Roush to open the second quarter set up a five-yard touchdown pass from Holmes to Erik Tobey, and Millikin led, 21-6, at 14:04. The Big Blue upped their lead to 27-6 at 7:50 second period on a 60-yard reverse from wide receiver Erik Tobey to quarterback Matt Holmes. A 60-yard kickoff return by Pete Djurickovic, coupled with a 15-yard Millikin personal foul, set up a 21-yard scoring strike from Carthage quarterback A.J. Simoncelli to Nick Gremley at 6:21 to cut the lead to 27-13. The Big Blue increased their lead to 30-13 at halftime on a 32-yard field goal by Austin Brettschneider at 2:32.
A 21-yard scoring pass from Holmes to Tobey at 10:26 third quarter put Millikin up, 36-13. The margin went 42-13 at 5:39 third period on another TD pass from Holmes to Tobey. The Big Blue added two final touchdowns in the fourth period. Darrell Mitchell scored at 13:27 on a 20-yard interception return, and Holmes completed his fifth touchdown pass of the game with a 14-yard strike to Jake Palmer with 8:57 to play.
Millikin rolled up 588 total offensive yards, 253 rushing and 335 passing, while Carthage managed just 190 total yards, 108 on the ground and 82 in the air. The Big Blue had a whopping edge in first downs, 32-11, although the time-of-possession was nearly even with Millikin claiming a 31:53 to 28:07 margin. Big Blue quarterback Matt Holmes had a big day, completing 23-of-38 passes for 275 yards and five touchdowns, while also running for 72 yards on 15 carries. Sean Dunning rushed for 73 yards on 18 carries, and Erik Tobey caught 14 passes for 143 yards. Carthage quarterback A.J. Simoncelli (Fr., Downers Grove, Ill./South) completed 12-of-35 passes for 71 yards, with Reggie Miller (Jr., Downers Grove, Ill./South) catching six for 33 yards and running for 67 yards on 15 carries. Middle linebacker Brad Kaput (Sr., Plainfield, Ill./South) had a game-high 11 tackles, including seven solos.